Woman gives homeless man her credit card

August 13, 2010 3:22:32 AM PDT
A woman wanted to help a homeless man in need, but she didn't have any cash to give him. Instead, she gave the man her American Express Platinum card.

Eyewitness News asked Merrie Harris, "Would you do this again?"

"Totally," Harris said.

What Harris did certainly had New Yorkers talking.

"Honestly I have to wonder how drunk she was," Manhattan resident Andy Hickmott said.

Merrie said it wasn't alcohol, just her faith, in a homeless man who approached her on Kenmare Street.

It happened while she was heading out to a restaurant with friends.

He wanted money for Vitamin Water and she had no cash.

So, she offered him her American Express Platinum card.

"He said, 'Do you mind if I borrow it?' I looked at him and he seemed so honest," Harris said.

She says he then asked if he could use it to buy a pack of cigarettes too, and she said yes.

The homeless man then proceeded to disappear for a while, during which time Merrie's friends continued to poke fun at her, and she even began to have a few doubts.

"And everyone around me was just saying, 'You are nuts, that was the dumbest thing to do'" Harris said.

But the man returned with her card 15 minutes later.

"I said, 'I'm so glad you came back,'" Harris said. "I said, 'I knew you would.'"

The man said, "I'm a really honest person."

Merrie's point in all of this is that sometimes if you just have faith in humanity, humanity will prove you right.

Some New Yorkers say that sounds good.

"I am inspired by the situation and maybe I could reach a point where I could do that for someone, but not today," Upper West Side resident Steven Jean said.

Merrie may be kind, but she is not stupid.

She called American Express just to be sure, and it turns out all the man bought at the Duane Reade was cigarettes and Vitamin Water.

"If you give, it's not going to be a bad thing," Harris said.

Turns out, giving someone a little "credit", at least in this case, paid off.